Maciej, Backcountry Ambassador//
Hello fellow snowshoers! I hope Everyone had a great Summer. We were all blessed with a wonderful sunny weather and long days. It seem like the Summer is far from over and we are expecting beautiful weather for the next several days. Thanks to the optimal combination of meteorological factors, I was able to get on snow in July and August. There is absolutely no reason to stop skiing and snowshoeing in the Summer when you leave in the Pacific Northwest. In late July I completed my annual pilgrimage to Mount Rainer. This time I wanted to experience sunrise at the mountain and planned accordingly. Me and my friend Peter left Monday afternoon, after work to arrive at Paradise early evening; early enough to see the sunset and enjoy nice dinner at the Paradise Inn. We went to be shortly after a stargazing session with a local astronomer – Milky Way was just amazing and so clearly visible without the light pollution we have to deal with in Seattle. Sunrise was around 5:30 am, it was truly a spectacle. Shortly after power breakfast we departed – destination Camp Muir. Due to the early hours we were blessed with multiple animal sightings! At the lower elevation we saw deer, higher up marmots and chipmunks were in abundance. The snow was all melted in the lower part of the trails and the meadows were in full bloom. It took a good 3 hours to get to the snow above the Paradise Point. And then it was Winter in the Summer! I put my Tubbs on, and off I went towards Muir. For those of you who have never done it, be prepared – the ascent is long and steep and it feels like it is taking forever to get to the top but it is totally worth it!!!
Another local volcano that offers amazing snow conditions in the middle of Summer is Mt. Hood – only about 3.5 hour drive from Seattle. I was planning to go skiing on Hood for several years. This year I finally did it!!! Skiing on Palmer in the morning was awesome and then, at 2pm when the lifts closed I switched my gear from skis to snowshoes and spent the rest of the afternoon on the slopes of Mt. Hood, exploring the ancient volcanic fields and admiring local fauna and flora.
The weather is forecasted to be amazing in early September, and the next few days will be hot and sunny. Thee is still plenty of snow left at higher elevations. Get you snowshoeing gear and get out there to start your 2014/15 snowshoeing season early! You will not regret it, I promise.